Sarah Gador-Whyte

Dr Sarah Gador-Whyte

Research Fellow
Biblical and Early Christian Studies

Areas of expertise: late-antique and Byzantine hymnography and homiletics; Byzantine liturgy; late-antique cultural interactions; late-antique history and historiography; religious conflict; history of emotions

ORCID ID: 0000-0003-2935-653X

Phone: +61(03)99533307


Location: ACU Melbourne Campus

After studying classics and applied mathematics at the University of Melbourne, I completed a PhD on a late-antique hymnographer, Romanos the Melodist. This project, which studied the rhetoric and thought of a significant Byzantine liturgical writer, combined rhetorical and theological analysis with a historical understanding and awareness of the performative nature of his compositions. My book, Theology and Poetry in Early Byzantium, which arose out of my PhD dissertation, is published by Cambridge University Press. I am interested in cultural interactions in late antiquity. My work on Romanos placed him in the complex context of late antique liturgical writings, focusing on religious clashes, theological disputes and inheritance and literary influences, and explored the use of dialogue as an investigative, exploratory and exegetical tool. I have also worked on dialogue texts in times of religious conflict: the forced baptism of Jews under the emperor Heraclius. I continue to work on Romanos and Byzantine homiletics and hymnography. In addition, a new project again focuses on religious interaction through dialogue, this time at the beginning of Islamic rule. Both these projects currently contribute to the ACURF Modes of Knowing project at the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry.

Select publications


  • Theology and Poetry in Early Byzantium: the Kontakia of Romanos the Melodist.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017.

Journal Articles

  • ‘Performing Repentance in the Kontakia of Romanos the Melodist,’ Journal of Early Christian Studies, 28.1 (2020), 89-113.

Book chapters

  • ‘Knowing in Song: Christian Formation in Romanos the Melodist’ in Sarah Gador-Whyte and Andrew Mellas (eds), Hymns, Homilies and Hermeneutics: Experiencing Liturgical Texts in Byzantium, Byzantina Australiensia (Leiden: Brill), forthcoming 2020.
  • ‘Changing Conceptions of Mary in Sixth-Century Byzantium: The Kontakia of Romanos the Melodist’. In Questions of Gender in Byzantine Society, edited by Bronwen Neil and Lynda Garland, 77-92. Farnham: Ashgate, 2013.
    ‘Christian-Jewish conflict in the light of Heraclius’ forced conversions and the beginning of Islam’. In Religious Conflict from Early Christianity to Early Islam, edited by Wendy Mayer and Bronwen Neil, 201-214. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2013.


Mailing address

C/- 115 Victoria Pde
Fitzroy, VIC, 3065.